(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "ModernGermanLiterature18801950"

224                  MODERN   GERMAN  LITERATURE

vation, despite his repentance; Jedermann is saved by repentance;
in Das Sal^burger Grosse Welttbeater the Beggar is called to glory
while the Rich Man remains in utter darkness. Das Sal^burger
Grosse Welttheater is an adaptation of one of Calderon's autos - the
Spanish development in the sigh de oro of the mystery play - which
shows that all the world's a stage on which the characters play
the parts allotted them by God: in Maeterlinckian terms they are
puppets pulled by strings from the sky. Actually in the auto the
parts are distributed to the actors by the author himself, clad in a
star-spangled mantle and with his brow lit by triple rays: Hof-
mannsthal substitutes an angel. Both auto and adaptation rise from
spectacle to drama when the Beggar protests against the part he
is expected to play, but the divine argument - it might be argued
that it transfigures Communism - prevails. There is a difference
that whereas in the auto the actors are mimes in Hofmannsthal's
play they are unborn souls (Maeterlinckian mysticism perhaps),
with no sign of sex or age. Hofmannsthal had already turned to
Calderon for his Dame Kobold (1919), an adaptation of one of his
comedies (La dama duende}. Much more important is Der Turm
(1925), in which there is something of Calderon's mood - or rather
of the neo-romantic conception of Calderon's mystic manner: the
heir to the throne of Poland bears the name of Sigismund, the
reigning king that of Basilius, and these names, with elements of
situation and plot, are lifted from La vida es suenoy that famous play
of Calderon's which has meant so much to German literature (the
prince imprisoned from birth by a father who fears that disaster
will come from him and escaping at maturity occurs again in Jakob
Wassermann's Caspar Hauser). Sigismund has been put away be-
cause of a prophecy that he would set his foot on his father's
neck; this prophecy is realized in the play, but what is dreamily
conveyed is that Sigismund, reared in seclusion, is pure spirit,
while the reigning king stands for those Jesuit practices and that
hocus-pocus of church-ridden epileptic monarchy which the pro-
letariat, led by a bull-necked adventurer with the eyes of a dog,
demolish in the course of the vaporous action. The conclusion is
that the state should be based on authority, but that this authority
should be of the spirit; and thus Hofmannsthal's final political
philosophy (matured by the chaos in Austria after the War) agrees
approximately with that of the hierarchic state postulated by Stefan
George. Sigismund, though the son of the king, has suffered the